Our small appliances expert Adrian Lini is in charge of putting soda makers to the test in the CHOICE labs. Adrian has experience testing all sorts of kitchen benchtop products including kettles, coffee machines, toasters and more.
As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular brands and models on the market and what you're most likely to see in stores. SodaStream is one of the largest beverage companies in the world so we test a number of models from its range. We also cover other brands designed for SodaStream cylinders including Philips and Aarke. SodaKing is another major soda maker brand we cover in our testing.
After surveying the market, we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a normal consumer would. We do this so we can be sure these products are the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way for better performance.
Adrian tests the soda makers for performance and ease of use, with the latter forming the largest part of our assessment.
Adrian assesses whether the machines can achieve a low, medium and high level of carbonation using either the automatic or manual settings (depending on the type of soda maker).
He also measures how consistent the carbonation is for a total of 10 bottles by measuring how much CO2 has been added.
Ease of use
To determine how easy the soda maker is to use, Adrian looks at:
- ease of installing and removing the CO2 cylinder – this should be simple and quick
- ease of installing and removing bottle – this should be easy without the chance of water spilling
- ease of controls – these should be simple and allow the user to control the amount of sparkling water
- ease of using the supplied bottle and lid – can it lay down in the fridge? Can the lid be secured tightly?
- water spillage – is there water spillage while carbonating?
- ease of cleaning the soda maker – does it collect fingerprints? Is it easy to wipe over?
- cylinder replacement program – is this practical and easy to do?
The overall score consists of ease of use (80%) and performance (20%). We recommend soda makers with an overall score of of 80% or above.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.